A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of "creating transformation" (cf. spiritual transformation). Their use and type varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra.
Mantras (DevanÄgarÄ« à¤®à¤¨à¥à¤¤à¥à¤°) originated in the Vedic tradition of India, later becoming an essential part of the Hindu tradition and a customary practice within Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. The use of mantras is now widespread throughout various spiritual movements which are based on, or off-shoots of, the practices in the earlier Eastern traditions and religions. (Wikipedia)
An excerpt follows
In tantric philosophy, mantra is a force which can be used for the awakening of our spiritual consciousness. The basis of mantra is sound, which ranges from gross to subtle. Throughout the cosmos there are slow, medium and fast sound waves. The medium waves are perceptible to us, but the slow and fast waves are not. When the sound of mantra is produced, it has a medium range of frequency which is known as perceptible or gross sound. But when the mantra is silently intoned it has a faster rate of frequency and becomes imperceptible or subtle sound.
Therefore a mantra works on the earthly plane and also on the higher planes. When you produce a sound and accelerate the frequency, it affects the inner realm of consciousness. Just as when you pick up a pebble and throw it into a calm, quiet lake, the impact creates ripples and the ripples form circles which expand wider and wider according to the force and weight of the pebble. In the same Way, when you repeat a mantra, the sound hits the homogeneity of consciousness and creates ripples which help to expand the mind.
For example your mind and my mind are not two minds; our minds are different circuits of one mind. So the truth is that the individual mind is part of the homogeneous universal mind. Therefore, individual mind can always be Connected with the universal mind if we know how to do it.
We must remember this as a law, for it is of utmost importance in spiritual life. When we begin to practise mantra we create vibrations in the outer mind. As the mind becomes calm, quiet and concentrated, these vibrations are transfered to the universal area of the mind. Then the barrier between the individual and the universal mind is broken. Because of this barrier, our minds are cut off from one another; you donâ€™t know what I think and I donâ€™t know what you think. But when this barrier is broken, your mind and my mind become one mind. See Mind to Mind, Sympathy
The mind is a universal mother, and its nature is that of the three gunas - sattwa, rajas, and tamas. According to the manifestation of reality, mind is known as Buddhi (discriminative intellect), Chitta (mind contents), and Ahamkara (ego).
We have always understood the mind as a process of thinking, but according to tantra, mind is not thought. Thoughts and feelings are expressions of the mind, and not the mind itself. Just as the waves of the ocean are an expression, a manifestation of the ocean; they are not the ocean. Thought and emotion are the Vrittis (patterns) of the mind. Anger, passion, greed, jealousy, love, memory, judgement, are all patterns and not the mind.
Mind is homogeneous awareness. This awareness it twofold - external and internal. When you have sensual perceptions, then you know that the awareness is external. When you dissociate the mind from the senses the awareness becomes internal.
The mind can turn either way. When the mind becomes extrovert, it has the experiences of form, sound, touch, taste and smell through the five different sense organs. The sensual experience is the game of the mind. When the mind is introverted, the senses are inert and lifeless. Then one does not hear, see, smell, speak or touch. This is called pratyahara.
When the mind turns inwards you approach the barrier and begin to see the cosmos, which is an infinite experience, It has no beginning and no end, no circumference and no centre.
We define awareness as external or internal, material or spiritual. The material awareness is an external experience of the mind. Spiritual awareness is an internal experience of the mind. When the mind has a barrier, it is limited to material experience, but when the barrier is broken then it has spiritual experience.
Every mantra has a specific sound. We do not know all the sounds, but we do know that there are certain sounds which are milder and others which are stronger. What happens when a sound is produced? Scientists have seen that the brain wave patterns are altered. Tantrics say that when a sound is produced, it alters the formations of the mind.
The mind is not one unit. Just as water is formed by the combination of hydrogen and oxygen, the mind is a combination of numerous formations. In yoga and tantra, these formations are known as Samskaras. They are the residue of individual experience through many incarnations.
The mind works like a camera. Whatever has been known and experienced through the senses remains imprinted in the subliminal part of the mind. These impressions or formations are so numerous that you may never be able to know them all, and it is not easy to classify them. Some are weak and insignificant, while others have a powerful influence on the character, habits and nature. Some are casual and periodical, while others accompany you all the time. See 18.07 - Thought as a thing - Hubbard
It is understood that powerful thoughts like anger, passion, jealousy or fear come into the mind from time to time, but during meditation many insignificant thoughts keep coming and going. This happens because we have not cleaned the formations of the mind.
That is why the first prerequisite to meditation is Chitta Shuddhi (mental purification). This should not be understood as a religious affair. Chitta Shuddhi means fixing the formations of the mind. Otherwise, when you sit for meditation, so many little thoughts constantly come into the mind, causing restlessness and disturbance. The practice of mantra is one of the best methods of chitta shuddhi, if it is done with awareness of all the thoughts that enter the mind as the mantra is being repeated.
The first range occurs when the mind is continually jumping from one point to another and is never constant. For example, when you are concentrating on the flame of a candle and a distracting thought passes through your mind, it is called vikshepa. This is one formation of the mind.
The second formation is called vikalpa. When you have established pratyahara, dissociated your mind from the senses, one-pointed awareness takes place. Then you begin to see visions, You may be concentrating on the flame of a lamp, but you begin to see the inner television! These psychic formations of the mind are called vikalpa, and they are extremely difficult to break. In dhyana yoga, if a thought comes to your mind you can definitely force it out by your own will. But when vikalpa comes you are helpless. These are involuntary expressions of the psychic formations and you have no control over them. See Engram
There is a third and powerful formation of the mind called laya which means dissolution, suspension. At that time the consciousness is completely eliminated and there is total Shoonya (voidness). You have been concentrating on the flame of a lamp and suddenly everything is switched off; there is no flame, there is nothing, and you are totally helpless, lost. This is a very obstinate formation.
So there are three types of samskaras: distraction, psychic visions and suspension of consciousness. How are you going to free yourself from these formations? Mantra is a very valuable tool for this purpose. When you are practising mantra, it is absolutely necessary to us a mala.
Mantra and mala together will fix the formations of the mind. For example, while practising Om, Om, Om, your mind suddenly drops and visions appear. The turning of the mala will interfere with the visions and revive your consciousness. It will reverse the process of mental awareness. This is the importance of mantra in relation to dhyana yoga and the awakening of spiritual consciousness.
The Bija (seed) mantras are very powerful sounds which have significant and instantaneous effects. There are millions of bija mantras, but we only know a few of them. Each bija mantra has its own element, and each element is associated with a centre in the body. For example, Om belongs to the mind, the most subtle element. The seat of the mind is Ajna chakra. Therefore, Om is the mantra of ajna and is considered to be the father, the most powerful of all bija mantras. Those who are serious seekers of the absolute reality use the mantra Om.
This is just one illustration of the bija mantra and its associated elements and chakras. In the same way, the bija mantra Lam belongs to the earth element, the Seat of mooladhara chakra. Vam belongs to the water element, swadhisthana chakra. Ram belongs to the fire element, manipura chakra. Yam belongs to the air element, anahata chakra. Ham belongs to the ether element, vishuddhi chakra.
Bija Mantras are definitely a high potency dose. Those aspirants who have not fixed their mental formations should practice an ordinary mantra rather than a bija mantra. When you use a bija mantra the awakening of prana is uncontrollable, that is why so many people have experiences within the second day of practicing the bija mantra.
11.08 - Matter is an Effect of Will Force
11.09 - Matter is the Recording of Thinking
11.10 - Matter is the Recording of Sequential and Successive Steps of Polarized Thought
18.06 - Thought as a thing - Cayce
18.07 - Thought as a thing - Hubbard
Mantras, effects. Aura Rejuvenation for U.
Mind and Matter
Mind Force the hidden Scalar Force
Mind The One Universal Substance